My Passions

by Elena T

When considering my passions, It would be circumventing the issue to say that my most fervent passion is being passionate. On the same token, however, it seems like an understatement to superficially discuss the hobbies and topics that fill my time. Passion is more; it is persistent, pervasive, and pressing. As I dwelled on this notion, I began to seek a common thread that would weave my pastimes into a cohesive quilt that enshrouds my being and warms my free thoughts. For me, that thread is culture.

My world is very black and white. Passion is something that I take seriously, almost to a fault. Earlier, I dismissed the idea of hobby-cum-passion because in my mind, a passion is something that never leaves your consciousness. It is a lense through which you see the world, not just a small segment of it. I could say that I am interested in foods, languages, traveling, and soccer, but each of those things occupy a finite space in my everyday life whether by choice or necessity. More often than not, some of them are pushed away into a small space, only to come out when my favorite team plays on tv or when I have the luxury of time and money needed to visit London. I value all of these interests, but since I am unable to access them with regularity, the zeal that unifies and brings them into my daily existence is my passion for culture and information.

My interests are the vehicle for my passion for culture. When I engage with any one of them, my end goal is to get a better understanding of the whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys, and hows that make, for example, tea a ritual as much as a beverage in Japanese society. When my favorite Spanish soccer team plays, the banners hanging from the stadium rafters make me consider the historical and social influences that contributed to Real Madrid’s domination in the middle of the 20th Century. These questions and curiosities allow me to sustain my interests into a passion that lingers beyond the inevitable spatial, temporal, and financial boundaries that surround them. I may not be able to hop on a plane whenever I like, but I can always research the art and science of butter sauces so that the next time I’m in Paris I will be able to more thoroughly them.

People always warn me that life can’t always be as clear as black and white. Whether or not I’m always willing to hear that, I think I intuitively accept it more than I am aware of. The confines of life mean that passions, typically hot, must inevitably stand tepid on the back burner until time or money brings them to the forefront again. We must explore them indirectly, seeking temporary hope in the shades of gray until they turn monocromatic once again.